New report hits out at MoD for staff shortages

Suzie Neuwirth
THE MINISTRY of Defence (MoD) has not done enough to prevent significant staff shortages in the Armed Forces and its management information is below the standard it needs to be, the Commons defence committee said today.

After assessing the MoD’s annual report and accounts, the committee said that the government must do more to retain people in vital positions such as intensive care nurses and engineers.

The army is set to cut thousands of jobs this year but hire reservists.

“These shortages of such vital, pinch-point trades are considered to be the second most key strategic risk in defence management and yet we worry about how seriously these shortages really are taken by the defence board,” said James Arbuthnot, committee chairman.

The committee also said that it is concerned about the amount and quality of information in the MoD’s annual report, including data on equipment procurement and on the readiness levels of the Armed Forces.

Labour’s shadow defence secretary Vernon Coaker said the findings showed that there is “a worrying shortfall in the required levels of trained personnel to fulfil critical operational requirements” and demonstrated “complacency, inefficiency and a lack of transparency in the MoD”.